Replacing most of her legal team, Amber Heard leans against the Constitution as she prepares to appeal a multimillion-dollar defamation sentence awarded to Johnny Depp.
Not entirely unexpected, the move of the Aquarius actress releases her chief lawyer Elaine Bredehoft after weeks of judicial jockeying by both Rum diary co-stars to have another kick to court can with notices of intended appeal. After seeing ex-husband Depp awarded $10.4 million by a Virginia jury on June 1, after an often bitter and explicit six-week trial, Heard has now hired David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown to support her attempt to represent the verdict to be revoked. Ben Rottenborn of Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black of Virginia will stay on as co-counsel.
More from Deadline
The hefty decision to bring Ballard Spahr lawyers Axelrod and Brown on board was made public today in a lawsuit in the Old Dominion. The composition of the new Philadelphia defense team makes it clear that Heard’s appeal will focus on the First Amendment aspect of her legal split from Depp.
“We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this profession as it is a matter with significant First Amendment implications for every American,” Heard’s newly appointed attorneys said in a statement this morning. “We are confident that the appeals court will properly apply the law without regard for popularity, reverse the verdict against Ms. Heard and reaffirm the fundamental principles of free speech,” Axelrod and Brown added.
Specializing in free speech in America’s founding document, Axelrod and Brown served as counsel to the… New York Times‘ successful fight against Sarah Palin’s libel case over a sloppy June 14, 2017 editorial in the paper. In the quickly corrected article, the NYT initially linked the political action committee of the ex-GOP VP candidate to a 2011 mass shooting that tragically killed six people and subsequently killed Rep. Gabby Giffords was seriously injured. likely to appeal Masked Singer Legal action contestant Palin was unanimously rejected by an Empire State jury and the judge overseeing the case on February 15.
Earlier pirates of the caribbean star sued his ex-wife in March 2019 for $50 million over a Washington Post in late 2018 under Heard’s byline. In the article, the ambassador of the American Civil Liberties Union spoke of becoming a “public figure who represents domestic violence.” While Heard never mentioned Depp by name in Jeff Bezos’ paper piece, the disputed past Oscar nominee insisted the opinion “destroyed” his already tainted career. Although Depp said nothing during the 2016 restraining order between him and Heard, Depp stated in his files that he was, in fact, the one who was abused in the couple’s relationship. The actor repeated that claim in the stands during the Virginia trial.
Because Heard failed to throw the case away or move it to another jurisdiction, Heard sued Depp for $100 million in the summer of 2020. The sun tabloid for calling him a “wife beater” turned out to be a dramatic failure in November 2020. Curiously, on June 1, the seven-member Virginia jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages on one of her counterclaims in an apparent contradiction to the $15 million they first handed Depp.
With the exception of Rottenborn’s closing statement on May 27, the tangible substance of the First Amendment was strangely almost ignored in the trial. Instead, even with Heard in the stands a number of times, Bredehoft allowed the defense to get caught up in a He Said, She Said with Depp’s wily Brown Rudnick lawyers. Faced with an onslaught of derision on social media, it was clearly a lost proposition for Heard, who said she was “heartbroken” when the verdict came.
Just hours after the verdict was announced earlier this summer, Heard was preparing to appeal and officially notified the court on July 21. homeowners insurance of the actress. In this legal chess game, Depp filed his own appeal on July 22. Heard’s lawyers are still expecting the $8.3 million bail required by Virginia law to challenge the verdict, on Sept. 4. appeal.
Which means this case could go back to judges and a new jury when the Warner Bros. sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, with Heard, hits theaters March 17, 2023. Still, whether Sarah Palin actually appeals her libel loss to the Times, at least we’ll know tomorrow if the former Alaska governor won the Last Frontier state special election. to fill the last few months of a vacant congressional seat. At the same time, Palin is also on the ballot in her home state for a full two-year term in the House of Representatives, starting in January.
Best of the deadline
Sign up for the Deadline newsletter. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news.
Click here to read the full article.